New numbers show continued dramatic slowdown of policing in Atlanta for second week

ATLANTA — A dramatic slowdown in policing in the city of Atlanta continued for a second week.

A retired senior police official warns that Atlanta’s poorer neighborhoods will suffer if police are not as active.

Channel 2 investigative reporter Richard Belcher has now examined citywide numbers for the week before the Rayshard Brooks shooting and the week after -- the week when two officers were charged with Brooks’ death and scores of officers called in sick.

Those numbers show the Atlanta Police Department made a total of 50 traffic stops last week.

A one-time deputy chief calls it a perfect storm that includes police frustration with City Hall.

Brooks' death and the violent aftermath captured the attention of the whole country.

But the drop in police activity started six days before the lethal confrontation.


The trigger for the slow-down may have been when six officers Tased and arrested two young people at a downtown protest.

The officers were fired by the city and then charged by the district attorney.

A police union official says officers are worried.

“(It’s) hesitation to be the next officer that’s put in jail,” said Vince Champion, with the International Brotherhood of Police Officers.

For the two weeks in question, Atlanta police made nearly 1,100 arrests citywide last year.

This year, 310 arrests were made for the same period -- down 72%.

  • Arrests for narcotics were down 95%.
  • Police did not make a single narcotics arrest last week.
  • Traffic stops were down 88% for the two-week period year to year.
  • Police made just 50 stops all of last week.

“It’s just the perfect storm impacting police services,” said Lou Arcangeli, who spent 29 years with APD, four as a deputy chief.

Arcangeli told Belcher that many officers felt betrayed by what they viewed as the mayor's rush to judgment in both the Tasing incident and the death of Brooks.

“Basics have been discarded because of the special interests and special needs of these riots,” Arcangeli said.

Archangeli alerted Belcher to an extraordinary exchange this week during a City Council committee meeting.

A councilman asked the interim police chief: “Why can’t we get that body out of the street?”

“I was just notified that there is, there is a young man that has been shot and killed at 377 Westchester Boulevard. If you could get a unit out there. He’s been on the ground. There’s no police that have come to… he’s dead already,” the councilman said.

Arcangeli said poorer neighborhoods will be hit hardest.

“You’re seriously impacted, and you don’t have your good beat cops in contact with your law-abiding citizens, and that’s what we’ve lost in the last three weeks,” Arcangeli said.

Compared to last year, shooting incidents tripled last week and the number of shooting victims almost quadrupled.

Serious domestic crimes have also risen by 57%.

Belcher contacted the mayor’s office for comment on this story, but so far has not heard back.